We’re excited to share some big news: the VIPKid family is growing! As part of our efforts to connect people around the world and foster global cooperation through education, we’ve adopted a giant panda named Mei Lun. Our hope is that Mei Lun will help propel the VIPKid mission forward, serving as a symbol of Chinese tradition and bridging cultures from East to West through education and conservation.
Mei Lun’s adoption, which was finalized on August 16th, was made possible through a partnership with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (known simply as the Chengdu Panda Base). Located in the Sichuan Province of China, this non-profit facility acts as a scientific research and breeding center, as well as an educational tourist attraction.
At Mei Lun’s adoption ceremony, Tan Hongming, Deputy Secretary at the Chengdu Panda Base, shared that the the organization hopes this partnership will help spread the love of giant pandas and act as a symbol of Chinese culture.
According to the most recent census in 2014, there were just 1,864 giant pandas remaining in the world. Though this number is lamentably small, it’s rising each year with the help of robust conservation efforts and global cooperation agreements with China, where the vast majority of the world’s giant pandas live. These beloved bears are not only a Chinese national treasure, but a worldwide emblem of conservation and cooperation. In fact, the giant panda is so well-known as a symbol of environmental protection efforts that the animal’s image serves as the logo for the World Wildlife Fund.
Born in the United States, Mei Lun relocated to China in November 2016. Her new home at the Chengdu Panda Base is comprised of over 90 acres of green space, hundreds of fellow protected animals, a hospital, feeding area, delivery room, and “luxury” panda houses scattered throughout the forests. She understands and responds to English, unlike her Chinese-born panda companions.
However, she’s working on her Chinese after moving to her new country and now responds to her name when pronounced in the local Sichuanese accent. Mei Lun enjoys a diet of almost exclusively bamboo—as most giant pandas do—and is just as photogenic as you might expect.
The VIPKid community will soon be able to get to know Mei Lun, too! We have exciting plans for various educational projects that will help teach environmental conservation and awareness to both children and adults alike and connect our community in new ways. We’re even leaving it up to our Chinese students to help choose an English name for Mei Lun, an important rite of passage.
Expect to hear more from Mei Lun soon… she’s just getting started as part of our ever-expanding VIPKid community!